How to Choose the Right Weight Gainer for Muscle Growth

High-carbohydrate supplements are popular sports nutrition products. Some of them are in particular demand due to their high quality and effectiveness. In this article we will go over the most effective mass gainersHigh-carbohydrate supplements are popular sports nutrition products. Some of them are in particular demand due to their high quality and effectiveness. In this article we will go over the most effective mass gainers

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What Is Weight Gainer Used For?

The main purpose of use is to increase the number of calories in the athlete's dietThe main purpose of use is to increase the number of calories in the athlete's diet

Among all the variety of dietary supplements, weight gainers belong to the category designed to promote muscle growth and replenish energy stores spent during intense strength training.

It is a well-known fact that muscle synthesis is impossible without sufficient provision of the body with all the essential micronutrients and vitamins, and calorie surplus. The calculation of the basal metabolic rate of the athletes is based on their age, weight, amount and intensity of training.

It often turns out that regular food cannot provide the resulting number of calories and nutrients, therefore, the rate of muscle growth inevitably slows down. This is where weight gain supplements come to the rescue.

They differ from all other types of sports nutrition in high content of carbohydrates: the product is a protein and carbohydrate blend in the ratio ranging from 1:1 to 1:3, depending on the manufacturer.

Most professional athletes prefer 1:3 ratio, but you should understand that this category of people spends so much energy that it cannot be replenished with food only. Endomorphs (people inclined to corpulence whose body type has a tendency to store fat) and those who have moderate physical loads and want to use weight gainers, should choose the supplements with an equal or close protein to carbohydrate ratio.

An average serving of a weight gainer consists of 40–60 grams of protein and 50–200 grams of carbohydrates. To get such an amount of carbohydrates with food at a time, you will have to eat about a kilogram of boiled buckwheat at one sitting – agree that it is hardly possible.

Role in Muscle Building

The matter is that the formation of new muscle fibers (and cells of all other body tissues) requires the "building material", that is protein. Even working with heavy weights will not promote rapid muscle growth in case of deficiency of this building material. Besides, the muscle building process requires energy, and the protein alone cannot provide the necessary amount of it.

But carbohydrates that serve as the main "fuel" for every single process in the body, provide the sufficient energy supply, replenish the energy lost after a workout, and promote faster muscle recovery.

According to that, the best time for taking a mass gainer is immediately after a workout session, in the period of the so-called "carbohydrate gap" when the glycogen stores are fully depleted. Besides, it is recommended to take a weight gainer shake in the morning, upon waking (glycogen stores are also spent to a minimum overnight), and in case a regular meal is impossible – a portion of weight gainer in a shaker can be taken anywhere with you.

Once you have decided to take a weight gainer, you may face the problem of choosing the right supplement from the wide range of such products in the sports nutrition market. What to choose? Which one is the best? Let’s compare the supplement facts of popular products of famous manufacturers in the following table:

Indicator per 100 g

Weight gainer product

TRUE-MASS (by BSN)

Serious Mass (by ON)

MASS-TECH (by MUSCLETECH)

SUPER MASS GAINER (by DN)

IMPACT WEIGHT GAINER (by MP)

Calories

430

380

365

382

380

Protein

30

15

27

15

28

Fat

10

2

3

3

6

Carbohydrate

55

75

57

74

54

Sugar

9

8

4

7

3

Sodium

181

209

117

147

194

Price ($)

1,41

0,82

1,21

0,77

0,91

You should take into account that beside these indicators, each weight gainer contains other substances in different portions as well, such as vitamins, minerals, creatine, and other ingredients.

Using this table, you can easily choose the best option for you:

  • by price – SUPER MASS GAINER (by DN);
  • by caloric content – TRUE-MASS (by BSN);
  • by the content of carbohydrates – TRUE-MASS (by BSN).

How to Choose the Right One for You?

Use the following tips when planning to purchase a weight gainer supplement.

Composition

  • The protein content is the key aspect. The supplement should contain at least 30%–35% of protein. If the protein content is below 25%, there is a risk to gain more fat than lean muscle.
  • Sugar content: the less, the better. Ideally there should be no sugar at all. Fast carbohydrates contained in sugar inevitably lead to the adipose tissue growth, moreover, the sugar content at the level of 30%–40% negatively affects the digestive tract.
  • Additional substances: depending on your individual needs, choose the kind of protein supplement that contains the necessary additional components: vitamin complex, amino acids, etc.

Kind of Protein

If you try a new weight gainer for the first time, begin with smaller doses (less than 50% of the recommended on the packaging). If there will be no negative consequences, you can gradually increase the amount of the supplement per servingIf you try a new weight gainer for the first time, begin with smaller doses (less than 50% of the recommended on the packaging). If there will be no negative consequences, you can gradually increase the amount of the supplement per serving

The high-quality weight gainer always contains either whey protein or multicomponent (blended) protein powders that combine casein, whey, egg protein, etc. If the weight gainer contains plant-based soy protein, that’s a clear sign of a poor-quality supplement.

The Serving Value

Each weight gainer manufacturer determines its serving size. In the vast majority of cases, the composition on the packaging is indicated per serving.

If you want to make a really beneficial purchase and get the desired effect that will justify every cent spent on it, take the time to convert the composition of the supplement into percentage per 1 kilogram (or 100 grams) of the product.

Thus, you will be able to determine the actual cost of each serving and packaging in general.

Conclusion

To choose the right weight gainer, you should:

  1. Calculate your own carbohydrate and protein needs.
  2. Choose the product according to the principle: more protein, less sugar.
  3. Pay attention to the percentage – do not stuff your head with serving sizes.
  4. Correlate the price of the product to its actual value for muscle growth regardless of the manufacturing brand.
Shesternenko Alexander
Fitness trainer, group instructor, dietitian
  • Counsels and educates on proper nutrition principles, body weight correction, and adjustment of individual diets and diets during pregnancy;
  • Develops meal plans that meet nutrition goals and dietary needs for obese and underweight people;
  • Specializes in modern functional testing techniques in sports, athletic recovery, sports supplementation, pharmacological support, and actual women's problems in sports;
  • On the website, provides analysis of different dietary schemes, reviews modern training techniques and effective exercises.

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